New tapings: Black Pumas and Sharon Van Etten

photo by Greg Giannukos

Austin City Limits is happy to announce two more tapings for our standout Season 45. Austin progressive soul band Black Pumas come to the stage for the first time on August 28, while acclaimed singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten makes her ACL debut on September 30.  

Eric Burton, a former L.A. street musician who used to busk for a living at the Santa Monica Pier, made his way to Austin in late 2015, setting up a busking spot at downtown’s 6th and Congress. In 2017, guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, the Grammy-winning founder of Austin’s Latin-funk powerhouse Grupo Fantasma, had recorded some instrumentals in his Austin studio, and started looking around for a vocalist—he knew a lot of singers, but he wanted something different. A mutual friend mentioned Eric Burton to Quesada, saying that he was the best singer he had ever heard.  The two musicians connected, with Burton singing to one of Quesada’s tracks over the phone. The first day they got together in the studio, they recorded the dusty funk that would become the Black Pumas’ first two singles, “Black Moon Rising” and “Fire.” The results of that beginning can now be heard on their self-titled debut album. Burton’s taste, range, and experience proved to be exactly what Quesada was seeking. “We just take to the same kind of music,” says 28-year-old Burton. “I listen to East Coast hip-hop, old soul music, folk music. When Adrian sent me the songs, it was like I had already heard them before. We were on the same wavelength from the get-go.” Described as “Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown” by KCRW, Black Pumas won Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards.  They locked down their reputation for thrilling live shows during a 2018 residency at the C-Boys venue in Austin that overnight became the hottest party in town.  The group’s buzzed-about 2019 South by Southwest appearance earned them numerous shout-outs from national press, with NPR hailing them “the breakout band of 2019” and Rolling Stone naming Black Pumas one of the festival’s best acts, saying “Few artists seem to tap the collective unease of the national moment quite like Austin’s Black Pumas…never missing a beat is the tireless, charismatic energy of singer Eric Burton.”  Austin-American Statesman raves “In an era of widespread despair, the band makes rock songs that feel like prayers.” 

photo by Ryan Pfluger

Sharon Van Etten’s fifth album, Remind Me Tomorrow, called her “most atmospheric, emotionally piercing album to date” (Pitchfork), comes four years after the acclaimed Are We There, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. “I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, and working on other music” says Van Etten. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, the singer-songwriter veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music throughout her decade-long career and pursues them full force. With curling low vocals and brave intimacy, Remind Me Tomorrow is an ambitious album that provokes our most sensitive impulses: reckless affections, spirited nurturing, and tender courage. Rolling Stone raves the release “…ups her ambitions even further, pushing toward a grand, smoldering vision of pop.”  Recorded in Los Angeles, the songs on Remind Me Tomorrow have been transported from Van Etten’s original demos through producer John Congleton’s arrangement. Congleton (St. Vincent, David Byrne, Unknown Mortal Orchestra) helped flip the signature Sharon Van Etten ratio, making the album more energetic-upbeat than minimal-meditative. “I tracked two songs as a trial run with John,” she says. “I gave him Suicide, Portishead, and Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree as references and he got excited. The songs are as resonating as ever, the themes are still an honest and subtle approach to love and longing, but Congleton has plucked out new idiosyncrasies from Van Etten’s sound. For Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten put down the guitar. The record shows this magnetism towards new instruments: piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. There are intense synths, a propulsive organ, a distorted harmonium.   The New York Times named the record’s first single “Comeback Kid” one of “The 25 Songs That Matter Right Now,” calling it “the song you want to raise up your fists and loosen your hips to.”

Van Etten is earning glowing reviews on her global tour, with high-profile slots at Glastonbury and Lollapalooza. NPR Music raves that her live show is “a grand and magnificent turning point for this talented performer and her band.”  We are thrilled to welcome Van Etten to our stage in her first-ever appearance.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New tapings: Colter Wall and Cage The Elephant

photo by Little Jack Films

Austin City Limits is proud to announce two new tapings for our milestone Season 45. Canadian country singer Colter Wall makes his debut on August 30, while Kentucky modern-rock stars Cage The Elephant make their highly-anticipated ACL debut on September 27.  

After two years of nonstop touring, Colter Wall wanted to make an album about home. Drawing on the stories of his native Saskatchewan, the young songwriter’s corner of the world takes shape throughout his second full-length album, Songs of the Plains. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Dave Cobb in Nashville’s Studio A, the project combines striking original folk songs, well-chosen outside cuts, and a couple of traditional songs that reflect his roots growing up in the small city of Swift Current. “One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, in the United States and playing in Europe, is that people all over the world really don’t know much about Canada at all,” he says. “When you talk about Saskatchewan, people really have no idea. Part of it is because there are so few people there. It’s an empty place—it makes sense that people don’t know much about it. But that’s my home, so naturally I’m passionate about it. With this record, I really wanted people to look at our Western heritage and our culture.” “I went into the studio and knew exactly the story I wanted to tell,” Colter says of the release. “That made it easier on a sonic level and a musical level, to be able to tell Dave that it’s a record about my home. That changes it at the roots level because it’s like having a mission statement, saying, ‘All right, let’s make a Western album.’” Indeed, Wall captures the expansiveness of the Western Canadian plains by relying on minimal production and his resonant baritone, which he’s strengthened into a mighty instrument in its own right. It’s a deep and knowing voice you wouldn’t expect of a man who just turned 24 years old. The New Yorker declared, “Wall is among the most reflective young country singers of his generation… His ace in the hole is his showstopping voice: a resonant, husky baritone, wounded and vulnerable.” “Wall pushes in close against the untenanted space of the middle provinces, filling their geographic gaps with an intoxicating rasp,” notes Pitchfork. “He sings with a serrated edge, his voice digging crevices rich with heartbreak, homeland, and heritage.” Noisey calls Songs of the Plains “ a heartbroken triumph, a statement suggesting that all that’s missing is perhaps not forever lost.”

photo by Neil Krug

Currently on a national co-headlining tour with ACL veteran Beck, Cage The Elephant is one of rock’s biggest live acts, and the band makes their highly-anticipated ACL debut on the heels of their recently released fifth studio album Social Cues. Produced by John Hill (Santigold, Florence + The Machine, Portugal. The Man, tUnE-yArDs), Social Cues is the follow up to their 2015 GRAMMY®-winning Tell Me I’m Pretty for Best Rock Album.  The acclaimed Social Cues is garnering raves with Rolling Stone calling it “their best album yet” and The Chicago Sun-Times saying “the band has pushed their sonic boundaries further and created their most personal record to date.”  The majority of the material on Social Cues was written during the unraveling of frontman Matt Shultz’s marriage. In order to make sense of such a difficult experience, he explored the hidden recesses of his psyche, creating characters to tell different parts of his personal story. He explains, “when I’m creating, I try to put myself in a reactive state of improvisational thought. I let images just arise in my mind and wait for it to evoke an emotional response and then when it does, I know I’m on to something.” Deeply inspired by punk music, brothers Brad and Matt Shultz began playing music in their Bowling Green, KY high-school with fellow students Jared Champion and Daniel Tichenor. Shortly after forming the band, they made the bold move to London to launch their career. Their self-titled 2008 debut album generated international attention, catapulting them up the Billboard Alternative and Rock charts and achieving Platinum certification. Cage The Elephant has released three additional studio albums – 2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday, the Gold-certified Melophobia in 2013 and 2015’s Tell Me I’m Pretty. They have had 7 Billboard #1 singles with 11 singles landing in the Billboard Top 10 and digitally have a combined 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Cage The Elephant is lead singer Matt Shultz, rhythm guitarist Brad Shultz, drummer Jared Champion, bassist Daniel Tichenor, lead guitarist Nick Bockrath and keyboardist Matthan Minster.  

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New tapings: Patty Griffin/Steve Earle & the Dukes/H.E.R./Vampire Weekend

photo by Michael Wilson

Austin City Limits is excited to announce four new tapings for our landmark Season 45. On July 2, we present a double shoot with a pair of veteran singer/songwriters with Texas roots and extraordinary range: Patty Griffin and Steve Earle & The Dukes. On July 8, we welcome remarkable Grammy®-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist H.E.R. On August 22, we welcome back Vampire Weekend for the indie rock titans’ second ACL taping.

On her sixth appearance on our stage, Patty Griffin is among the most consequential singer-songwriters of her generation, a quintessentially American artist whose wide-ranging canon incisively explores the intimate moments and universal emotions that bind us together. The Grammy®-winning Austinite’s recent, self-titled LP (her tenth studio album), represents an extraordinary new chapter for this incomparable artist and stands among the most deeply personal recordings of her storied two-decade career. The album – which follows 2015’s Grammy® Award-nominated Servant of Love – collects songs written during and in the aftermath of several years in which she battled – and ultimately defeated – cancer. Yet as always, like very few others, Griffin’s power lies in how, as music critic Holly Gleason observed, “her songs seem to freeze life and truth in amber.” It’s in how Griffin can express the strikingly intimate while never making it about herself, all wrapped in sparse arrangements that breathe an incomparable force and import into her songcraft. NPR raves, “One quality that’s distinguished Griffin’s body of work throughout her nearly quarter-century career is her gift for imagining the untamed forces of people’s inner lives.”  

photo by Tom Bejgrowicz

For his fifth performance on ACL, the legendary Steve Earle presents Guy, his acclaimed tribute to his songwriting mentor and ACL Hall of Fame legend Guy Clark. Earle first met Clark after hitchhiking from San Antonio to Nashville when he was 19, becoming the older songwriter’s bass player and maintaining a lifelong friendship after striking out on his own.  “No way I could get out of doing this record,” says Earle. “When I get to the other side, I didn’t want to run into Guy having made the TOWNES record and not one about him.”  “Guy wasn’t really a hard record to make,” Earle says. “When you’ve got a catalog like Guy’s and you’re only doing sixteen tracks, you know each one is going to be strong.” Earle and his five-piece band The Dukes take on Clark classics including “Desperados Waiting For a Train,” “LA Freeway,” “New Cut Road” and “Heartbroke” with a spirit of reverent glee and invention.  Earle’s raw, heartbreaking vocal on the sweet, sad “That Old Time Feeling” sounds close enough to the grave as to be a duet with his departed friend. Guy is a saga of friendship, its ups and downs, what endures. Like old friends, Guy is a diamond.

“The musical sensation H.E.R. is changing how we hear – and feel – music with her talent, vision and mystique,” hails Grammy.com and the forecast is bright for this young star with two 2019 Grammy® Award wins for Best R&B Album (H.E.R.) and Best R&B Performance (“Best Part” featuring Daniel Caesar). Elle magazine proclaims, “H.E.R. is more than a rising star – she’s a damn galaxy.” The 21-year-old is commanding stages on her own sold-out headlining tour, earning praise for live performances that not only showcase her honeyed vocals and self-penned lyrics, but also showcase her skills as a multi-talented musician playing keyboards, drum pad, acoustic and bass guitars.  With over two billion combined streams to date, the release of the breakthrough H.E.R. and the recent releases of I Used To Know Her: The Prelude and Part 2, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist H.E.R. firmly established herself as one of modern music’s most fascinating new voices. H.E.R. Vol. 1 peaked at #1 on the iTunes R&B/Soul Albums chart upon its release and H.E.R. Vol. 2 saw the same trajectory, resulting in two EPs within the Top 5 at the same time. Her latest release, I Used To Know Her: The Prelude, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart, while fan favorites “Focus,” and “Best Part” earned the #1 slot on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs Airplay chart and Urban Adult Contemporary chart, respectively. H.E.R. recently earned two 2018 Soul Train Music Awards for Album/Mixtape of the Year for H.E.R. and Best Collaboration Performance for “Best Part” feat. Daniel Caesar and captivated audiences with performances on the 2019 Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with James Corden,  and the 2018 BET Awards.

photo by Monika Mogi

Ending months of fevered anticipation punctuated by three brilliant double-A-side singles and a slew of over-the-top positive early reviews, Vampire Weekend’s long-awaited fourth album Father of the Bride was released this month, landing the #1 spot on the U.S. charts in its debut.  The rapturous reviews continue: GQ says “One of the most important bands of the 21st century…With Father of the Bride, their fourth album, the group has expanded itself and the conception of what a band can be”;  Stereogum hails Father of the Bride, “Quite possibly their magnum opus”; USA Today raves “Vampire Weekend returns as the best indie band of their generation.” The third Vampire Weekend album in a row to reach #1 on the Billboard 200, Father of the Bride’s first week tally of 138,000 is both the year’s biggest sales week for a rock act and the highest single week sales of the Grammy-winning band’s career. Vampire Weekend recently made their first television appearance in five years and kicked off their Father of the Bride North American Tour with sold-out dates throughout 2019.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New tapings: Maggie Rogers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus

photo by Olivia Bee

ACL is thrilled to welcome three remarkable artists under the age of 25-years-old: acclaimed producer/songwriter/performer Maggie Rogers makes her ACL debut on June 21 and lauded indie singer/songwriter phenoms Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus join us for the first time on July 30 for a taping highlight—a one-of-a-kind co-headline evening with these two accomplished solo artists.

Rogers hits our stage in the middle of a sold-out tour in support of her debut album, Heard It In A Past Life (Capitol Records), which entered Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart at No. 1 and charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The breakout debut has sold nearly 200,000 album adjusted units to date with cumulative streams across all tracks exceeding 400 million.  Her current single, “Light On,” topped Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart for three consecutive weeks.  Tickets for Rogers’ upcoming October 19thand 20th ACL Live shows sold out immediately at on sale.   

Raised in rural Easton, Maryland, Rogers released her critically acclaimed debut EP, Now That The Light Is Fading in 2017 upon graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.   The 24-year-old released her recent debut LP Heard It In A Past Life to critical raves, with The New Yorker declaring, “Maggie Rogers is an artist of her time.”  The New York Times notes, “‘Heard It in a Past Life’ is a collection of buoyant electronic pop songs, but the lyrics are unmistakably the work of an introvert struggling to recalibrate.” Rolling Stone awarded the album four stars and hailed it as “a laser-focused statement with nary a wasted lyric or synth line.” NPR Music agrees, ’Heard It In A Past Life’ (is) smart sparkling pop.”  TIME notes, “The album confirms Rogers as a tender but powerful musical force, putting her in the company of a group of solo female artists claiming space outside of the typical machines of pop, country or R&B.”

2018 was a milestone year for Richmond, VA’s Lucy Dacus.  Her widely celebrated sophomore record, Historian, was met by a cavalcade of critical elation, with NPR, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NBC News, Slate, The Atlantic, Billboard, Paste, Stereogum, and more choosing it as one of the year’s best albums. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers. “This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.” She played revelatory sold-out shows at clubs and festivals alike, along with multiple high profile television appearances.  A glance at her worldwide touring schedule in 2019 shows little sign that Dacus is slowing down, and in fact, she will release a series of songs titled 2019 to celebrate.  Recorded in here-and-there studio spurts over the last two years, 2019 will be released later this year as a physical EP on Matador Records, and will be made up of originals and cover songs tied to specific holidays, each of which will drop around their respective date: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day (and Taurus season!), Independence Day, Springsteen’s Birthday, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s.

Memphis native Julien Baker’s chilling solo debut, Sprained Ankle, was one of the most widely acclaimed works of 2015. The album, recorded by a then 18-year-old and her friend in only a few days, was a bleak yet hopeful, intimate document of staggering experiences and grace, centered entirely around Baker’s voice, guitar, and unblinking honesty. Sprained Ankle appeared on year-end lists everywhere from NPR Music to The AV Club to New York Magazine’s Vulture. With 2017’s Turn Out The Lights, Baker claimed a much bigger stage, but with the same core of breathtaking vulnerability and resilience. From its opening moments — when her chiming, evocative melody is accompanied by swells of strings — Turn Out The Lights throws open the doors to the world without sacrificing the intimacy that has become a hallmark of her songs. The album explores how people live and come to terms with their internal conflict, and the alternately shattering and redemptive ways these struggles play out in relationships. “Turn Out The Lights is beautifully crafted throughout,” noted Spin, “full of the kinds of songs that linger long after they’ve ended.” Under the Radar declared, “Baker is writing faultless songs that will always have a home in our hearts because finding comfort in even the saddest moments means we’re still feeling. And if we’re feeling, there’s hope for us yet.”  

In addition to their successful solo careers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus (along with Phoebe Bridgers), comprise the indie rock supergroup boygenius, whose 2018 EP landed on the year-end best-of lists of Newsweek, The New Yorker, Esquire, The New York Times and more, with Pitchfork raving “(boygenius) sing like hell together in lung-shattering harmony.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes a week before the taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New taping: Mitski

photo by Bao Ngo

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce the debut taping of acclaimed indie songwriter and performer Mitski, who will join us on June 4, 2019.

Mitski Miyawaki, “one of the most interesting songwriters of her generation” (Paste Magazine), achieved breakout success with 2016’s critically-acclaimed Puberty 2, and soon after circled the globe as a headliner and as an opener for both The Pixies and Lorde. She was hailed as the new vanguard of indie rock, the one who would save the genre from the white dudes who’ve historically dominated it.  Her carefully crafted songs have often been portrayed as emotionally raw, overflowing confessionals from a fevered chosen girl, but on her stunning fifth album, Be The Cowboy, Mitski introduced a persona who had been teased but never so fully present until now—a woman in control.  Recorded with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, the album is not a departure so much as an evolution from previous albums. The title “is a kind of joke,” Mitski says. “There was this artist I really loved who used to have such a cowboy swagger. They were so electric live. With a lot of the romantic infatuations I’ve had, when I look back, I wonder, Did I want them or did I want to be them? Did I love them or did I want to absorb whatever power they had? I decided I could just be my own cowboy.” There is plenty of buoyant swagger to the album, but just as much interrogation into self-mythology.  

Be the Cowboy has earned widespread acclaim, topping critics 2018 year-end best lists. It was named the #1 album of 2018 by the likes of Pitchfork, New York Magazine, ESQUIRE, Consequence of Sound, and more, and  #2 by NPR Music, The New York Times (Jon Pareles),  and SPIN. Pitchfork proclaimed it “Mitski’s most triumphant record to date, a refining of her many strengths, splashed across the largest canvas her arms can carry.”  The New York Times raved: “[Mitski] has grown ever bolder musically, moving well beyond the confines of indie rock and chamber pop to try synthesizers, disco beats, country and more, while savoring the sweep of her voice…On this album, even more than she has before, Mitski makes the music her partner.”  “An album defined by impeccable construction and open defiance of the confessional mode,” noted NPR.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New tapings: Kane Brown, Gary Clark Jr., the Revivalists and Rainbow Kitten Surprise

photo by Joseph Llanes

Austin City Limits is elated to announce the first tapings of our new Season 45: rising country star Kane Brown on March 3, Austin’s favorite son, Gary Clark Jr., on March 5, New Orleans rock band The Revivalists on April 9 and North Carolina alternative rockers Rainbow Kitten Surprise on May 6.

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of Nashville’s most promising young stars and also one of its most flexible,” three-time American Music Award-winner Kane Brown earned accolades throughout a milestone 2018, including his selection by the Associated Press as one of 2018’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year, and landed a No. 1 album with his sophomore release, Experiment. With that chart-topping debut, the Georgia native became the only male country artist in more than twenty-four years to debut at the top of the Billboard 200, and one of only three country artists to top the Billboard 200 chart in all of 2018. He first made history by becoming the first-ever artist to top all five Billboard Country charts with his 2016 breakthrough self-titled debut.  Brown recently topped the airplay charts with his third consecutive No. 1 single at country radio, “Lose It,” following chart-topping hits “What Ifs” and “Heaven.” His boundary-pushing musical style, undeniable fan connection, and trailblazing path have earned him accolades as as the “the future of country music” (Billboard).  ‘I’m just a guy who wants to make people realize you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” says Brown.  “I’m just somebody who’s wanting, no matter what race you are, if you like country music, if you want to be in country music, then you can be. Just look at me, and come on.”

photo by Frank Maddocks

Grammy Award-winning Gary Clark Jr. hits the ACL stage for his third headliner show, on the heels of the release of his highly-anticipated This Land, his third studio album for Warner Bros. Records, out February 22.  The charged songs on This Land offer a rich window into the afro-cosmic musical soul of Clark, with themes that reflect introspective intimacy and unapologetic cultural consciousness. The sonic canvas of his rhythms, beats, melodies and ever-present guitar virtuosity on this album are his most ambitious work to date.  Rarely has an artist alchemized the sounds of the great African-American music forms into one genre-defying statement of unique power, craft and social significance, as Clark has done. As Clark himself puts it: “This album was meant to sound like D’Angelo, Parliament Funkadelic and Cream. Someone asked me why I made such an expansive album. I said, if I didn’t get it out of me, I was going to explode. It’s all just soul music.”  In a relatively short period of time, Clark has made an indelible mark for himself in the music world. He has been called “the chosen one” by Rolling Stone, and “the future of music” by President Barack Obama.  Clark is a rare artist, a genre-bender who transcends sound, style, race, gender, and age; his prowess has been witnessed on the world stage from Bonnaroo to Jay-Z’s Made In America, to Coachella, to the Roots Picnic, to Glastonbury, and many more.  We’re thrilled to welcome this hometown hero back to the ACL stage.

photo by Zackery Michael

We also welcome, for the first time, chart-topping rock band The Revivalists. On their fourth studio album Take Good Care (Loma Vista Recordings), the New Orleans rising stars deliver a bevy of anthems marked by moments of sonic complexity, celebration, and catharsis, chronicling an unbelievable ride that unassumingly commenced in 2008 with hundreds of underground shows yearly. Ten years of tireless hard work would be unexpectedly revved up by the success of the platinum-selling number one smash “Wish I Knew You,” and like any enduring band worth its salt, the octet buckled down and turned up with an album chock full of tunes worthy of even greater success, such as the #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative single “All My Friends”and new hit single “Change.” The Revivalists – David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion]— have garnered more than 300 million total streams, have drawn praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Alternative Press, Uproxx, Flaunt, Nylon, and more, and have performed on The Late Show with StephenColbert, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, TODAY and Conan. They were nominated for a Billboard Music Award and two iHeartRadio Music Awards, were named Billboard’s Top New Rock Artist of 2017 and have three years of back-to-back sold out headline tours in their biggest venues to date. In the end, The Revivalists welcome listeners on this journey with them as they set out with a newfound depth and ambition. “We’re in this together,” says Shaw. “We love to take people on an emotional rollercoaster with us. That’s what this record is. It’s who we are. There’s some real magic in that.”

photo by Matthew Salacuse

Nearly every song from ACL first-timers Rainbow Kitten Surprise unfolds in a dizzying rush of feverish yet finespun lyrics that feel both intimate and mythic. Throughout their third album How To: Friend, Love, Freefall, the Boone, North Carolina five-piece sets those lyrics to a thrillingly unpredictable sound that transcends all genre convention, endlessly changing form to accommodate shifts in mood and spirit. But while Rainbow Kitten Surprise push into some complex emotional terrain, the band’s joyful vitality ultimately makes for an album that’s deeply cathartic and undeniably life-affirming. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Jay Joyce and recorded in Nashville, How To: Friend, Love, Freefall marks Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s debut release for Elektra Records. In creating the album, the band immersed themselves in a deliberate sonic exploration, infusing their music with the kinetic energy of discovery. In sculpting the inventive arrangements and textures, Rainbow Kitten Surprise embedded each track with indelible melody and chilling harmonies with a long-lingering power. The quintet moves gracefully through infinite sounds and tones: the energetic R&B of “Fever Pitch,” the haunting a cappella harmonies of “Pacific Love,” the full-throttle frenzy of “Matchbox,” the tender psychedelia of “Moody Orange,” the tumbling folk of “Painkillers.” In working through such a kaleidoscopic sonic palette, Rainbow Kitten Surprise show the sharp musicianship and powerful camaraderie they’ve developed since forming at Appalachian State University in 2013. It wasn’t long before they’d gained a devoted following – amassing over a million streams on each song from their self-released catalog – and word spread about their unforgettable live show: a blissed-out free-for-all that typically finds frontman Sam Melo jumping right into the audience, building an unbreakable connection with the crowd, as delivered during stand-out sets at major festivals like Bonnaroo, Firefly, Sasquatch, and Austin City Limits.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

New tapings: Willie Nelson and August Greene

photo by David McClister

Austin City Limits is proud to announce the final two tapings of Season 44 – one with an old friend and the other featuring some new ones. On November 19, we welcome back an American music icon: Willie Nelson, who anchored the pilot episode of ACL back in 1975, returns for his eighteenth appearance on the program and his first headlining appearance in almost a decade. We’re also thrilled to report that this highly-anticipated homecoming will be live streamed worldwide direct from the ACL stage. On November 26, we open the stage for the first time to supergroup August Greene, the collective of rap superstar Common, jazz keyboardist/producer Robert Glasper and drummer/producer Karriem Riggins.

With a seven-decade career and two hundred-plus albums, Willie Nelson needs no introduction. A bronze statue of Nelson at the entrance to ACL’s studio home on the Austin street that bears his name, honors the Texas native.  He spearheaded the Outlaw country movement in the 1970s, and has since become a musical and cultural treasure whose artistic vision has held steady for over half a century. Inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2014, the Red Headed Stranger has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist.  With a staggering legacy of classic songs and enduring influence, the 85-year-old continues to tour regularly throughout North America. In recent years, he has delivered more than then twelve new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestseller, again headlined Farm Aid (an event he co-founded in 1985), received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival during SXSW at his ranch in Luck, TX, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone. In 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to music – the first country artist ever to receive the distinguished award. 2016 brought the releases of the Grammy-winning Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, which debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, and For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, an album of newly recorded interpretations.  Nelson also released Pretty Paper, a novel inspired by his classic holiday song of the same title. In 2017, he released God’s Problem Child, an album with thirteen new songs that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200. Nelson continues his restless streak in 2018 releasing two LPs: the all-originals Last Man Standing and My Way, a collection of songs associated with Frank Sinatra. Nelson released a new single, “Vote ‘Em Out,” this October urging citizens across the country to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.  We are honored to welcome Willie Nelson back to “the house that Willie built” to carve his name in the ACL stage once again.

photo by B+

In early 2016, musicians and friends Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins found themselves in the studio, crafting the soulful backdrop of Common’s eleventh album Black America Again.  “It was such a real form of expression,” says Common. “It felt natural. We all have an affinity for great music.” As the trio created, they began to notice something different taking shape—something rooted in the warm R&B sounds of yesteryear but still very much in the present. It was soul music with a modern bounce, a jazz-rap hybrid in the spirit of A Tribe Called Quest. It fully encapsulated the black experience: the serenity and pain through which we channel gorgeous art, the beauty and struggle of simply trying to exist. Equally peaceful and profound, the music they captured laid the foundation for August Greene. The artists come to this project having reached major respective milestones over the years. Since 1992, the Chicago-born, Grammy-, Emmy- and Oscar-winning Common has uplifted listeners with his emotive blend of hip-hop and soul, releasing some of the genre’s greatest work. The four-time Grammy-winning Glasper, a Houston-born pianist/producer known for his esoteric mix of jazz, rock and soul, has long created music that defies expectation. Riggins, a Detroit native, is a world renowned percussionist and producer whose work can be heard on many modern recordings, including the Emmy-winning “Letter to the Free,” his collaboration with Common and Glasper for Selma director Ava Duvernay’s acclaimed documentary 13th. Featuring the singles “Black Kennedy” and “Optimistic,” which guest-stars R&B great Brandy, August Greene culminates years of mutual respect and friendship, channeling the musicians’ various talents into a cohesive project. The perfect marriage of jazz, hip-hop and soul, it’s music that just is, speaking to those pushing through the dark for brighter days, and a masterpiece from which virtue can shine.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS in early 2019 as part of our Season 44.

New tapings: Khalid, Residente, Janelle Monae, The Arctic Monkeys

photo by Kacie Tomita

Austin City Limits is beyond excited to announce a stellar slate of tapings featuring artists performing at our namesake Austin City Limits Music Festival this October. Please welcome for the first time: rising star Khalid on Oct. 3, Latin superstar rapper Residente on Oct. 7, boundary-smashing soul auteur Janelle Monáe on Oct. 8 and British modern rock icons Arctic Monkeys on Oct. 13.

Five-time Grammy® nominated artist Khalid has seen great success since he released his first single “Location” right before his high school graduation. The song’s domination led to Khalid’s major label deal with Right Hand Music Group/RCA Records followed by the release of his debut album American Teen. The album received mass critical acclaim with Rolling Stone calling Khalid a “pop prodigy” and TIME Magazine stating, ““His thoughtful, relatable reflections on modern youth culture and the limitations of love are just as pitch-perfect as his soulful, measured delivery.” American Teen shattered expectations, as it stayed in the Top 200 for 51 weeks, peaked at #4, and stayed in the Top 20 for 48 out of the 51 weeks it was in the Top 200. The singer-songwriter has over one billion streams worldwide across all partners, his first single “Location” is certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA, his previous single “Young Dumb & Broke” is certified 3X Platinum, and his album is now certified 2x Platinum. Since the album’s debut, Khalid has garnered five 2018 Grammy® nominations including Best New Artist and landed on the cover of Billboard’s 2018 Grammy® Preview issue. He recently won two 2018 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Artist and Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song for “Love Lies” with Normani. He was also nominated for a 2017 BET Award for Best New Artist, a 2017 Teen Choice Award for Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song for “Location”, and a 2017 American Music Award for Favorite Song-Soul/R&B for “Location.” Khalid also won Top New Artist at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, Best New Artist at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards and an MTV’s Woodie To Watch Award. In addition to American Teen, Khalid has collaborated with some of music’s biggest stars. He has been featured on a number of songs including mega hits like Calvin Harris’s “Rollin” with Future, “1-800-273-8255” with Logic and Alessia Cara, “Silence” with Marshmello, “Lovely” with Billie Eilish, “Youth” with Shawn Mendes, and many more. Khalid’s current singles “Love Lies”, a duet with Normani, and “OTW” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 6lack are burning up the airwaves. Khalid recently wrapped up his third sold-out North American headlining tour.

Born René Pérez Joglar, Residente is a Puerto Rican rapper, writer, producer and co-founder of the trailblazing alternative rap group Calle 13. He has won a record-breaking 28 Grammy® Awards (four Grammys® and 24 Latin Grammys®). Residente studied fine art for eight years before launching an independent career as a lyricist, performer and director of many of his own music videos. He was inspired to create his self-titled 2017 debut solo album after a DNA test showed that he had roots all over the world. Thus galvanized, he traveled the globe, visiting the different countries where his roots could be found and recording with local musicians in Siberia, Moscow, China, Ghana, Burkina Faso, France, and many more. The resulting album includes guest performances from Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda (Residente’s distant cousin), Tuareg world music star Bombino, French pop singer SoKo, At the Drive-In/Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodriguez-López and members of the Peking Opera. Rolling Stone notes “Each song is its own new genre, sourced from regional sounds and specially tailored to reflect the diversity of his DNA,” while Remezcla remarks that “at the heart is Residente’s belief that knowledge of our fellow global citizens is power.” Billboard simply describes the album as “exciting, thought-provoking, touching and shocking.”  Residente has been recognized for his commitment to social justice, championing educational and native rights across Latin America. The superstar received the prestigious Nobel Peace Summit Award in 2015 for his efforts to promote social awareness and peace. He has also served as the spokesperson for UNICEF and Amnesty International campaigns, and in 2018 was awarded the BMI Champion Award for his musical career and humanitarian work – the first Latin American artist to receive this recognition.  

photo by JUCO

Janelle Monáe is a Grammy® nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer, activist and actress. She recently released her critically-acclaimed third solo album Dirty Computer and the accompanying film Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture by Janelle Monáe, earning widespread praise for her cinematic range and vision.  The L.A. Times calls the record “a warm and vibrant tribute to the marginalized people, especially women and those with fluid ideas about gender and sexuality, whom Monáe sees as the true embodiment of America’s promise.” Q describes it as “fierce, honest and a challenge to the forces of obsolescence,” while The A.V. Club simply says “she’s outdone herself in both the execution of this vision and its resonance.” Rolling Stone put it more bluntly: “It’s a sexy MF-ing masterpiece.” The UK’s Guardian hailed her current world tour as “euphoric funk at the edge of megastardom.”  Immersed in the performing arts at a young age, the Kansas City native founded her own record label, Wondaland Arts Society, releasing the 2008 EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Monáe went on to release 2010’s acclaimed The ArchAndroid and 2013’s The Electric Lady. Additionally, she took her talents to the silver screen, starring in the 2017 Academy Awards Best Picture Moonlight and the Oscar-nominated hit Hidden Figures. Monáe is set to star in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen for release in winter 2018.  The visionary artist launched Fem the Future in 2016, an initiative to create more opportunities to advance the awareness, inclusion and opportunities for women and those who identify as women through music, arts, mentorship and education.

photo by Zachary Michael

One of music’s biggest live acts, Arctic Monkeys make their ACL debut in the midst of a sold-out world tour and a headlining spot on ACL Fest. After springing to international attention in 2006 when their first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not became the fastest selling debut LP in British chart history, Arctic Monkeys have released a string of critically acclaimed albums. The band’s sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, follows the Sheffield, U.K. quartet’s most commercially successful LP to date, 2013’s A.M., which reached #1 on charts in a dozen countries, achieved platinum status in the U.S. and has sold approximately five million copies worldwide. Tranquility Base is a bold and brilliant album reflecting singer/songwriter/bandleader Alex Turner’s ever more comprehensive creative vision. The core ideas for Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino took root in L.A. in the early months of 2017, as Turner began recording demos in his modest home studio. Though he’d rarely written on anything other than guitar, piano-led songs began pouring out of him. After Turner tracked as much as he could at home on his Tascam, Arctic Monkeys reconvened at France’s storied La Frette studio, a converted 19th-century mansion, to spend five weeks recording with their longtime producer James Ford. “There’s a definite vibe about that place,” says guitarist Jamie Cook. “We were really home there…I would probably say it was the best recording session we’ve ever done.” The result is the most unusual record in the band’s six-record repertoire. Q calls it “a strange, wonderful album,” while Spin notes that “the more you give in to these vibes, the more the vibes give back.” “The first listen may be surprising,” says PopMatters, “but repeated listens illuminate that Arctic Monkeys remain progressive and energetic even when style and mood shift dramatically.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 44.